tutorial: the 19th street wallet

by Valerie on June 17, 2010

in crafting,sewing,tutorials

A few weeks ago, I went to Dallas for the wedding of a friend of mine from college, and unsurprisingly, the reception ended up doubling as a mini college reunion. Some of those people I literally hadn’t seen since graduation day.

Naturally, the experience got me thinking about the thing I am always thinking about: sewing.

(really).

I already make a cute little single pocket card case/wallet thing that people love to impulse-buy at craft shows, but occasionally I get asked about one with two pockets, that would fold in half.

why 19th street?
I don’t know why I never made one before, but seeing my old college peeps got me thinking. As freshmen, we took our social lives very seriously, and used to venture down 19th Street (NW, Washington, DC) to this particular bar that was, um…liberal with the door policy, if you know what I mean. I used to have a little 2-sided wallet like this, where I stowed my student ID and a $10 bill (really, that’s all you needed back then).

Remembering our 19th street adventures made me think of that critical accessory (nobody carried purses when we went out), and how a handmade version would be pretty cute, and super useful. Sadly, the one I had was brown pleather. You, however, needn’t suffer such atrocities, and can whip up this little cutie in a half hour (really!), in whatever pretty fabric you have!

materials needed

All you need for this wallet/card case (besides your basic sewing supplies), is less than an eighth of a yard of fabric. You could easily make three or four of these with a single fat quarter. I used lightweight quilting cotton, but you could probably use something a bit heavier if you wanted to. Knits or very heavy weight upholstery fabric would probably not work.

I also used lightweight fusible interfacing, but that’s also optional, especially if you use something a bit heavier for the outside.

the pattern
…is really just two rectangles. If you want to make more than one, measure out the rectangles onto some spare paper or poster board. Otherwise, you can measure and mark right on your fabric! The first piece is a rectangle 4 and 5/8″ wide and 5 and 5/8″ tall. The second is the same width and 4.5″ tall.

time to start sewing!
1. Once you choose your fabric(s), you’ll need two large rectangles and two small rectangles, plus two large rectangles of fusible interfacing, if you choose to use it.

The large rectangles form the outside of the wallet and the inside backing of the pockets, and the smaller rectangles form the pockets. I chose a contrasting fabric for the inside backing, but you could make them all match, or choose all different fabrics! This pattern is a super way to use up scraps.

2. The next step is ironing. If you are using interfacing, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply it to the back of the two large rectangles. Fold the smaller rectangles in half so they are 4 and 5/8″ wide and 2.25″ tall, and iron them flat.

3. Now to apply the pockets! I used the striped fabric as the pocket backing, so I lined up the raw edges of the pockets with the raw edges of the pocket backing, and basted them in place.

4. We are seriously almost done! The next step is to sew the whole thing together. Place the two larger rectangles right sides together, matching all four edges, and sew all the way around, using a 3/8″ seam allowance, leaving a small space (maybe 1.5″) on one short side in order to turn it right side out. I like to double up on all my seams.

5. Next, trim the corners at least (I like to trim all the way around), so that your wallet will turn easier and lie flat once it’s finished. Don’t trim over the opening you left.

6. Turn right side out, and use a hot steamy iron (if you’re using cotton) to iron your wallet flat, and then fold in half, matching the pockets together, and iron flat again. Only one more step left!

7. Now you are ready for the last step, closing up the hole you used to turn the wallet right side out. I used two different ways: the first, and my favorite, is to close the hole with a blind stitch and be done with it (on the right below). No visible stitching, plus this wallet is so tiny that it will stay closed in your pocket or in your purse.

The other option is to add a ribbon tie in a coordinating color. I just slipped one end of the ribbon (I used 3/8″ wide grosgrain ribbon about 14″ long) into the opening, and then topstitched all around the wallet, staying as close to the edge as I possibly could. The ribbon then will wrap around the wallet and tuck into itself to keep the wallet closed. Either way works!

And viola! You now have an adorable little card case/wallet that is lightweight, super-slim, and colorful to boot.

You don’t have to be a hard-partying college kid to appreciate the usefulness of this little guy. Let me know if you make one, I’d love to see pictures!

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If you found this tutorial useful, please use the links below to share with your friends, and of course comment to let me know what you think, ask questions, or to make any suggestions!

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so, what do you think? leave a comment & let me know.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 AmyBow June 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm

is it washable to get the smoke stink out from that particular bar?

2 Valerie June 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Ha! Yes, since it is cotton it is 100% washable, should your new slim wallet lead you to smoky-bar adventures. :)

3 SisterDG June 29, 2010 at 10:43 am

What a cute wallet, and your tutorial is nice and clear. Thanks so much!

4 Valerie June 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Thanks, Sister Diane! I worry about the clarity, since of course, all the steps make perfect sense to me. Glad it seems that way to others too! :)

5 Carrie Pfeiffer November 11, 2010 at 11:58 am

Oh, I’m pretty sure I have to make one of these just for old times sake. Your tutorials are awesome, Val. I’ve been sewing some stuff for my girls, but wanted to venture into other things. I just bought some canvas fabric to try out the larger wallet, too.

6 Valerie November 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Carrie, I love that you’re going to make one! I’d love to see pictures of whatever you make. Thanks so much for your kind words about my tutorials, I’m glad they’re clear and usable!

7 Brenda C. January 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Oh no, another great tutorial. I must make the fabric book cover first, then I’ll try my hand at this project. I’m enjoying your site. Thanks again!!

8 Valerie January 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Thanks Brenda! This one is super easy to make, you’ll be done before you know it! :)

9 Anna February 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I just made of of these adorable, useful little things. I haven’t carried it anywhere yet, but I can tell that this is just the thing I need for costuming. I forget to sew pockets into my things and when it comes time for a festival, I have no good way to carry my money close to me. This is so slim that I can stuff my ID and money in it, and then slip it into a corset without anyone knowing! I’ll have to make another for just such a purpose. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial.

10 Valerie February 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Anna,
That is exactly why I made my first one! You can’t beat it for a handy way to carry your money and ID. Please send me a picture of the one you make! Thanks for dropping by the blog and for commenting. I’d love to see your costumes as well!

11 Anna February 7, 2011 at 9:39 am

I don’t have a way to show them off just yet, or enough good pictures of them to do so. Usually at festivals I’m the one taking the pictures. Some day when the weather warms up I’ll have a dress-up day where my husband can take pictures until I want to punch him and I’ll throw them on a blog. I will send you a picture of my first wallet and my festival wallet when I get the latter made. Thanks once again for the tutorial!!

12 Johnna February 11, 2011 at 1:11 am

I just made a cute little wallet to match the tissue case! Thank you again for sharing your ideas with very clear directions!

13 Valerie February 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Johnna, I’m so happy you’re enjoying the tutorials. :) I’d love to see pictures of your matching set!

14 Laura February 15, 2011 at 6:11 am

I made your cute little wallet as Valentine’s Day presents for my friends. They were so fun to make and a great way to use all my favourite little bits of fabric that I couldn’t bring myself to throw away. You can see what I made here: http://always-have-a-plan-b.blogspot.com/2011/02/dial-hug.html. Thanks for posting a great tutorial!

15 Valerie February 17, 2011 at 11:28 am

Laura, those are so adorable! The fabric you picked is fantastic. These little things are perfect for really bold prints like that, and like you said, using up bits of fabric too small for something else. Thanks so much for sharing pictures!

16 Anna February 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Hello, again! I have a blog made. There’s not much to it yet, but I threw a dress up there today if you want to go have a look. I’ll put the wallets up there sometime.

http://www.phwoosh.blogspot.com

17 Valerie February 20, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Anna – I can’t wait to see the wallets you made, plus all the other sewing you’ve done. :) Thanks for sharing the link!

18 Andrea February 21, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Love this wallet. So great. Thanks for the tutorial!

19 Valerie February 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

Hi Andrea, thanks for dropping by & for commenting! If you make one, I’d love to see pictures. :)

20 Pina March 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I’m so making these as gifts fro friends. I’ve got a birthday coming up for one of them, and just the right fabric I think! I love that it takes just a little, and there’s so much room for creativity. Thanks!

21 Valerie March 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Pina, you’re right, these make great gifts! I have a customer who gets them for her staff every Christmas and puts Starbucks gift cards in them. Truly the gift that keeps on giving. :)

22 Michele April 4, 2011 at 8:06 am

Hi Valerie,

Just a little note to let you know that I used your wallet tutorial in today’s post, so hopefully you’ll be getting a little love by a reader of mine or two. It’s a perfect little cardholder and your tutorial was so clear and great. Thanks so much!

Find my little wallet here: Space Wallet

Take care,
Michele

23 Valerie April 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Michele – absolutely gorgeous. The perfect little french knots and the space theme are just incredible! Thanks for using my tutorial!

24 Sandy Kramer May 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I made one of these little wallets today to go with a ‘One Hour Bag’ I made for a swap on Swap-bot. I made it out of scraps & it took only about 10 min. Thanks so much for sharing. I think I’ll make one for myself now. It’s so cute!

25 Ann Marie Alonzo May 31, 2011 at 7:27 am

This is almost exactly a product that we sell in my paying job, in retail. I own one, bought it to copy, but never found time to figure out how! It does travel well, and is soon to be discontinued by the high priced company (which I cannot mention obviously) I think it sells for $8.

26 Joanna July 13, 2011 at 9:43 am

Cute wallet and great tutorial!

27 Cailee June 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Hey thank you for this tutorial :) I honestly NEVER follow patterns but this was definitely easy!! I am learning my new machine and learned how to blind stitch today :) Plus my machine has a monogrammer thing so I can personalize :) Just made my first one and excited to make more :)

28 Tiffany Kidder July 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Thanks for a great pattern and tutorial! I’ve been looking for a way to carry my business cards around. I’m making this today :)

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